this is about the cutest damn thing i've read in a while. we should all be so lucky.
i decided to ride my bike in to class this morning. bad idea. my hand is not really recovered at all, even though it's been a week, and it ended up hurting quite a bit. super-lame. this injury has seriously impacted my contribution to my Bike to Work team; i was already the slouch, even though I was commuting every day, since my commute is so short, but now I am contributing absolutely nothing. i feel so useless.
my handwriting has regressed considerably as well.
in other news: graduation is just 11 days away. insert slight panic. oh... you mean i have to get a job now?
so last Saturday i did the hardest thing i have ever done, physically speaking: i climbed halfway up mt rainier, from paradise to muir. i suppose it's technically more of a hike, but it's all in the snow and all uphill. very uphill.
so we left seattle around 5:30, and drove to Eatonville where we met up with the rest of our party: 6 in all. We drove to the parking lot at Paradise and spent about an hour or so getting our gear together, using the restrooms, etc. We were all packed up and ready to hit the trail around 9:10.
The first thousand feet or so wasn't too hard at all. Walking through well-worn footprints in snow, through the trees. However, after some gentle uphills and one small downhill, we hit the first steep part of the climb. I had to use my hands to help myself up the slope (probably not the wisest idea, since it made my fingers really really cold without me noticing) and was the last one up that part. (actually, I was lagging behind everyone nearly the whole time... I was the pacesetter of the group, that's for sure.) After the first steep part, we were just about above the trees, and the mountain opened up in front of us. Our "guide" (my friend's dad, who has made 18 successful summits) told us that at that point, we had seen the steepest that we would see all the way to the summit - except that there would be about 6 hours of that on summit day. yikes.
So we kept pressing on, onwards and upwards... a couple of times the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, or the clouds would sweep off of the summit and let us see the mountain for a minute. Then it was back to climbing, just pressing upwards and onwards. It was really long and hard, honestly, and I am not in good shape right now so I have a bunch of training to do before the end of June.
Finally, around 4 or so, we reached Camp Muir. It's just a series of shelters... one occupied by the forest service, one or two for the commercial guide services, and one for the public. It's little more than a hut built into the side of the mountain, but inside you can get warm out of the wind, cook up a nice meal and maybe even catch some Z's. On a summit attempt, you generally try to sleep until about midnight, then get up and on the way up to the top by around 1AM.
We, however, weren't attempting the summit, we were just training. So after we got warm, we went back outside to practice self-arrests with an iceax. Definitely a valuable skill to have, especially when you're all roped in together going up to the top. One falling climber quickly becomes three or four if you don't act quickly and correctly. So we practiced for awhile before we went back inside and got ready to head down.
This is when the story gets interesting.
So in order to increase the load we were carrying for training purposes, as well as speed up our descent, everyone had decided to bring skis or snowboards to get down on. Only by the time I had climbed 4800 feet up with a 45+ lb pack, I was not able to get up on my board. (I'd be lying if I said I felt great at this point too... I was worn out, tired, and a bit anxious, especially after the self-arrest practice. That didn't help much at all. So I physically could not get up on my snowboard.. I tried multiple times, but I just couldn't get up. Too much weight, thighs WAY too tired. So I unstrapped from my board and started walking down.
Only everyone else was way ahead, because they were on skis or snowboards. So I tried running a little, and couldn't keep that up.
And then I got the bright idea to ride down on my snowboard on my butt.
Word to the wise: Don't. Ever. Do. That. It worked great for the first hundred feet or so, but soon I realized I was going way too fast, and tried to slow myself down with my feet (my iceax was strapped into my pack). That just made me spin out and fall off my board... so now my snowboard shoots way out in front of me, and I am tumbling down the mountain. Somehow I manage to stop myself, but my board shoots off into the white (oh yeah, forgot to mention we are at near-whiteout conditions since we started the descent; visibility is probably around 100 yards, and varying all the time.) I get up and realize I'm not badly hurt, but my right hand has become completely non-functional. (Well, I can move it, but if I try to grasp anything with it it hurts, or just won't go.) I hope it's not broken. And I just lost my snowboard.
We regroup (fortunately, everyone saw me fall, and was right there to help once I stopped myself). My iceax comes off my pack and into my (left) hand; the map is consulted, and it's determined that we are heading off course, and we need to bear to the right. But my snowboard is off to the left.
Just forget it, they tell me. It's not worth risking your life for a board. Plus, hikers are pretty honest people, and when the weather clears up someone will find it. Just report it missing as soon as you get home. I know they're right, but it still is a pretty big blow to my spirit - losing my snowboard AND hurting my right hand at the same time. We keep moving down the mountain, significantly slowed by me being on foot... but in the poor visibility, we do the right thing and stick close together as we head down.
I should elaborate on the conditions at this point. It had been a warm spring day, with tons of climbers heading up to Muir or partway. The snow had been very slushy, and lots of footholes had been punched into the snow. However, the sun went behind the mountain as we started down, and the temperature was certainly below freezing, especially up near the top. So the snow was not only icy, but full of footprints. Not optimal conditions, especially considering the weather. And soon I'm not the only one having trouble.
Anyway, I'm going to spare all the trials and tribulations of the hike down the mountain... it was a grueling trudge, believe me. However - one very good thing happened as we were coming back down the steep part I talked about on the way up - I slid down on my butt ("glissaded") and turned to see everyone else come down, when out of the grey mist at the top comes a snowboarder... carrying a snowboard. as he comes closer I can see... yep, it's mine! saved! It turned out to be a park ranger, just doing a sweep of the mountain before turning in for the night, and he'd seen the binding of the board... way out on the Cowlitz glacier. Damn board got quite an adventure. So I didn't lose my snowboard after all... success! (However, we were still probably an hour from the parking lot, and I had no choice but to hold the board in my right hand, since I needed my left for my iceax. Probably not the best for a fresh injury... but what else was I going to do? My friend Rian had insisted on taking my pack soon after I took my spill... some sort of macho i don't know, but I couldnt exactly ask anyone else to carry my board. I was already the wuss, the wimp... the girl. Eh... I made it.
So we made it back to the road (we took a wrong turn at some point and ended up at the visitor center, not at the Paradise lot) and waited while a few went and got the cars. We finally hit the road around 11 and weren't home until after 1... a long damn day. I spent the next day in bed and in the bathtub... I could hardly walk.
So it was an interesting adventure, that is for sure. Now I need to get my ass in gear and start training if I'm going to summit next month... I can't wuss out now, that would be bad.
...that today marks the 30th anniversary, to the day, of the original theatrical release of Star Wars.
entirely coincidentally, I have the disc from Netflix and just watched it... I have to say, the DVD version just is not the same. I want to see the original version, with bad effects and obvious sets and no CG dinosaur-creatures. but i also have to say that it is a beautifully shot movie - some of the frames are just so awesome. I don't remember them having such attention to detail and simply beautiful frames in the newer films.
anyway... a childhood favorite revisited... it's never quite what it should be, but it's still one of my favorite movies ever.
so i've been waffling on whether or not to stay in my current place after graduation - it's not the perfect apartment, and i'm getting kind of lonely on my own, but moving is such a PITA... so I was leaning toward staying, until I got home just now and found a notice on my door...
they're jacking my rent.
not by just a little bit, either. it's going to go up to $850. that's a $100 increase. EIGHT FRACKING FIFTY. do I look like I can afford that?
$850 for a 600-sf, 1br, 1ba, tiny little 1-person apartment. $865 if you include Frida's rent.
no. fracking. way. guess i'll be giving them my notice and looking for somewhere else to live after graduation.
the mountain is out today... i keep staring at it. i think i'm fixated on it, and i won't be able to stop thinking about it until i summit. or at least attempt the summit.
my hand isn't broken, but it still complains if i try to type for more than a few minutes at a time. the doctor said to keep icing it and keep it wrapped, and try to stretch it out... man. not being able to use your right hand = the pits.
posted by Kat Reinhart at 18:24
climbed up to muir yesterday... it was certainly a trip. there will be a longer blog post forthcoming with more details and stories and pictures, but for now i'm nursing my sunburned face (ugh) and limiting my use of my right hand. (yes, there's a story. a stupid one. but you'll have to wait.)
yeah, rainier showed me which one of us is boss. i'm postponing my decision on whether to go for the summit until i recover from ths trip.
so i woke up this morning with an excruciating pain in my neck and the inability to move my head in certain directions. it's better now than when i first got up... the first hour that I was up was nearly unbearable. i wasn't even sure if i was going to be able to make it out the door. i'm not sure what's wrong... a pinched nerve or a muscle spasm or what - but it probably has something to do with the fact that i've been sleeping flat on my stomach, with my head at a 90 degree angle to the right, for the past few nights. something tells me my body doesn't like that so much. putting on my shirt this morning literally made me cry, and i couldn't lift my messenger bag up and over my head without causing severe pain. oh, and i can't look more than 45 degrees to the left unless I physically support my head with my hands. if this is what chronic pain is like, then anyone who suffers from it has my complete sympathies. i have no idea what i would do with myself if this doesn't go away. my apartment isn't exactly non-ambi-turner friendly, and I can't ride my bike like this, either, since there's no way for me to check over my left shoulder and see if there's a car there about to kill me.
The Decemberists' The Crane Wife is an album meant to be listened to on repeat. i'm not quite sure exactly why this is, but it has something to do with the seamless transition of the end of "After the Bombs" and the first sounds of "The Crane Wife 3"... like they meant to do it. HAHA we will trap listeners in an infinte loop of metaphor and legend!
so much shit to do this week - biochem midterm monday, symposium friday. mother's day tomorrow (complete with mom). 4 weeks until graduation - 3 weeks of classes left. homework due on wednesday and i have to find a windows machine to do it on. bleh.
and after graduation: 17 days until Rainier.
so the puppy next door? yup, it's a pit bull. awesome.
it stared me down as i was locking up my bike a few minutes ago. and not in a "puppy wants to play" sort of way, but more like a "these are my masters and if you fuck with them I WILL KILL YOU" sort of way.
i managed to steal a good bit of backpacking gear from my aunt and uncle last night. i have a backpack, a 3-person, 4-season tent, a sleeping pad, a camping stove, and some other stuff too. hells yeah... i am ready for adventuring.
so i have at least 3 trips coming up in the next 6 weeks... next weekend we're climbing from Paradise to Muir, getting practice with all the ropes and stuff, walking across snow, etc. the weekend after that, i'm going backpacking, probably at the coast, but possibly in the desert, with the Mountaineers. and then on 24-27 june we are going to make a summit attempt on Rainier. hellz yeah!
i want to go backpacking in the Olympics, St. Helens, and maybe the North Cascades before the summer is over.
so the li'l scooting machine has awoken. i charged up the battery and hooked her back up, and after much labor managed to kick-start it to life. the electrical parts aren't so much working, but the motor, wheels, and brakes were working just fine. the throttle's a bit sticky too. but it's working! the groundskeeper at my apartment building came up to me while i was working on it and said he'd seen a few people kick it over on purpose. people are assholes. but it makes me glad i didn't spend more on it. it's a nice way to get from point a to point b, and will be great for those trips that are just too long/too uphill/with too much to carry for the bike.
my uncle was asking me the other day when i was going to take the test and get my motorcycle certification and get a real bike. it's worth considering... hella impractical in seattle, but then, if i end up in, say, SD for grad school, it could be worthwhile. (hi mom! yes your brother is a bad influence on me!)
ok, time to forage for dinner. me hungry.
crazy bitch fight in the apartment next door... details at 11. oh wait it IS 11 and i'm up past my bedtime because of the CRAZY BITCH FIGHT next door. I never knew you could slam the door so many times in one night... if I were a little older or more authoritative i would go out there and lecture them, but something tells me not to do that.
my new neighbors? they suck. when the puppy* isn't crying all night making it difficult to fall asleep, there is a CRAZY BITCH FIGHT! did i mention crazy bitches? good.
i need some earplugs.
* i say "puppy" to reassure myself that they don't have a huge pit bull in there... i have overcome my childhood fear of dogs, for the most part, but my neighbors owning pit bulls and having bitchfights on a regular basis... not what i signed up for.
i just rode up to lake forest park and back. if my math isn't horribly wrong, that's like... 20 miles. now i am enjoying a delicious slab of mahi mahi. and b33r. always need the b33r. mmm.
it's crunch time, it seems. less than 2 weeks until the symposium, i have to give lab meeting tomorrow, a practice talk at some point soon, and my real talk next friday. that's a lot of presentations. oh and i presented a figure from a paper today in calcium class. hi my name is sir presents-a-lot.
time to get to work. or maybe shower. (or bower. mmm, bower.)